Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) Summary of Findings (SoF) Tables to Improve Understanding in the Presentation of Systematic Review Results

A Three-Arm, Randomised, Controlled, Non-Inferiority Trial

Published in: BMJ Open, Volume 8, Issue 1 (January 2018), e015623. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-015623

Posted on on March 07, 2018

by Juan Jose Yepes-Nunez, Rebecca L. Morgan, Lawrence Mbuagbaw, Alonso Carrasco-Labra, Stephanie M. Chang, Susanne Hempel, Paul G. Shekelle, Mark Helfand, Tejan Baldeh, Holger J. Schünemann

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Summary of findings (SoF) tables present results of systematic reviews in a concise and explicit format. Adopted by many review groups including the Cochrane Collaboration and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), optimal understanding of SoF table may be influenced by the type of information being conveyed and objectives or preferences of the end user. This study aims to compare three SoF table formats in terms of understanding, accessibility, satisfaction and preference with systematic review users.


The primary objective of this three-arm randomised controlled non-inferiority trial is to investigate whether an alternative Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) SoF table or Evidence-based Practice Center SoF table is non-inferior to the current GRADE SoF table in the understanding of the information presented to systematic review users, particularly for descriptive findings. Researchers, clinical practice guideline developers, policy-makers or knowledge transfer professionals will be recruited. Data will be collected electronically at baseline and after randomisation. Non-inferiority would be declared if the difference in the proportion of participants who understand the information displayed in the alternative SoF table is 10% or less.

Ethics and Dissemination

The Hamilton Integrated Research Ethics Board reviewed this protocol. The findings from this study will be disseminated through a publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

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